Author's Note: I'm not sure what to make of this one guys. I was trying to write a plausible interaction between Vexen and Demyx. I've gotten tired of tweaking and decided to find out what you all think.
Like Chocolate Oblivion there isn't really a pairing up story. Just sort of getting to know each other. There is heavily implied past relationship between Demyx/Saïx, and mention of a current Axel/Demyx.
Also in this story is the first mention of the fishpond, which is (and will continue to be) a major point of contention between Demyx and Marluxia. I kind of like the idea that they'd bicker like siblings, and yet occasionally look after each other.
Vexen's lecture was based off of one of my former professor's way of talking. Also, Vexen's attitude mildly reflects my own experience, as a Science major, understanding Arts majors.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts.
Warnings: Mentions of m/m relationships. In no way graphic, but if you don't like that sort of thing you've been warned. Also, Vexen's lecture, it's long-winded and boring. If you skip/skim it you won't hurt my feelings.
"Hey, old guy!"
Vexen bristled. Number VIII always grated on his nerves, usually for simply sharing the same time-space continuum as the Chilly Academic. When he actually opened his mouth it was unbearable.
"What do you want?" he spat.
"Is Mullet boy in here?"
"No, the last time I saw him he and Marluxia were fighting over the Fish Pond That Never Was."
The pyro sulked. " Where the hell can that guy be?" he grumbled as he wandered out of the lab.
Vexen waited until he was sure Axel was gone. He went to the back of the lab where there were a few hospital-style cots and pulled back a curtain.
"I hope you don't mind. I didn't think you were in the mood to talk to him at the moment," he said to the young man on the cot.
Demyx shook his head slightly, wincing, "No s'okay."
The boy was curled up on the cot stripped of most of his Org gear. He'd only kept his undershirt and boxers. The rest of his clothes were folded neatly on a nearby chair. Vexen had thought the boy would be too cold, but cold was apparently what was comfortable to him at the moment. He had an ice pack on his forehead and a loose, but very opaque blindfold draped over his eyes.
There was also a large basin next to the bed in case the nausea that had overcome him in the hallway where Vexen had found him returned.
"You know you should have come to me right away, instead of bothering with XI's quack herbal remedies," he said haughtily.
The curled figure sighed. "Sorry Vexen," he said quietly. "But I was desperate and his room was closer. And his aromatherapy did help"
"Huh, placebo effect."
You're just letting Marly get under your skin again. If it was, say Lexaeus, doing it you'd be perfectly happy to admit it has some merit."
Vexen pouted. Since when did the musician get so perceptive?
"Humph! I still think I can do better. Indecently, is that analgesic I gave you working yet?"
He rolled his eyes. "The pain killer. You know that medicine I made you drink."
"Oh, why didn't you just say so?"
Urge to kill rising. (1)
"A little bit yes, thank you. Normally I wouldn't be able to talk right now. It's making me feel all floaty though."
Vexen sighed and sat down next to the cot. He normally didn't allow Demyx (or any of the neophytes really) in the lab. His mere presence in the lab wreaked havoc with delicate experiments. The Academic had a theory that the boy interfered with the aqueous solutions on an unconscious level. He didn't mean any harm; it was just any H2O warm enough to be in liquid phase reacted to him. Almost as if it welcomed him.
Whatever it was, it always threw off his experiments and made the data useless. Vexen hated useless data, almost as much as he hated Marluxia.
"Funny thing that. A Nobody who gets migraines."
"Why is it funny? Makes perfect sense to me."
"Migraines happen to the head not the heart."
Vexen hated it when a promising line of research was shut down by lateral thinking.
"How long have you been getting them?" he asked instead.
"I just always have, even before, you know…I woke up in Twilight Town." The other nodded, and then remembering Demyx couldn't see him said, "I see."
The Nocturne snorted. "My being is spilt in half and the half that remembers who I am gets stuck with the stupid migraines. I bet my Heartless is having the time of his life. Bastard."
Vexen actually grinned at that.
"I always kind of wondered…well…"
"A Nobody is half a person right? The body and soul that get left behind when the heart is lost."
"Yes, of course."
"And a Heartless is a heart overcome by its own darkness?"
"Yes, Demyx you know all of this."
"It's just that it doesn't add up."
What the? "What do you mean?"
"Well a person is made of a heart, body and a soul. So if a Heartless is the heart and the Nobody is the body and soul, then Nobodies can't be half a person, we're two thirds of a person."
Vexen blinked. "Demyx stop before you give me a migraine." There was a soft chuckle from the cot.
"And don't call me that!"
IV stared down at the boy. He was the most hyper Nobody Vexen have ever observed. When someone (usually Axel, or Roxas, or both) got him wound up he could cause more damage than Saïx on a rampage. He also liked to play his stereo near the pain threshold, and was always humming, or whistling, or tapping out the beat to some tune or another.
And yet, Demyx (along with Luxord) was one of the less objectionable neophytes in his opinion. He lacked the bravado that Axel and Marluxia oozed, and was rather better mannered, and generally did what he was told.
He wasn't intentionally rude, just full of nervous energy.
"Now what is it?"
"Superior always tells us we're empty shells that don't feel anything. If that's true, then why does this hurt so much?
"Actually come to think of it, if I don't have a heart, why do I have a pulse?"
A very small voice in the back of Vexen's mind (that sounded rather like Zexion) shook its head in dismay. The kid had no idea of the floodgates he'd just opened, the rest of him launched into lecture mode.
"Well, when Superior, or any of us is talking about the 'heart' we obviously don't mean actual cardiac muscle. 'Heart' is a term that we gave to incorporeal, but very real part of a person that encompasses their capacity for good and evil, or light and dark we usually say. The Heart is the basic element of a person. It is also the means of connecting with others on a very significant level, but not, I have come to suspect, the only means. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to peruse that line of inquiry.
"But moving on, it took me quite some time (and I'm very proud of this little discovery) to differentiate between the feelings of the Heart and what the body feels. You see, you body gives you all the information about the world around you and the brain processes this information. The brain then triggers an appropriate response.
"For example, say you are faced with a powerful heartless. Your body senses the threat to its continued survival and triggers a rush of adrenaline. But other circumstances other than clear and present danger cause a release of adrenaline. We often call the sensation adrenaline gives us fear, or anger. But how do we know which one?
"Information supplied by the Heart allows us to differentiate. The Heart senses those needed clues that tell us whether to fight or flee, to be afraid or be angry.
"As Nobodies, with no Hearts to give us these clues, we rely on past experience. We remember a past reaction, and apply that information to a current situation. We remember the context of feeling happy or sad or angry. We remember what we were doing or saying, what others were doing and saying, how our bodies felt. When we find ourselves in a similar context now, and if we get all the correct physical cues, we say that we are happy or sad.
"In reality our brains are merely doing a cut and paste. Of course we don't notice the process."
"So" Demyx interrupted, "Heartless are the unchecked thymos, and we're the logos and the pathos?"
Vexen stared at his subordinate for moment. Had that really just come out of Demyx's mouth? Hang on, hang on. Zexion had mentioned this. Zexion said he could be thinking out loud and then Demyx would say something fairly insightful.
The Nocturne rarely spoke of his past to anyone, but the Schemer had deduced that the boy had had something closer to a classical education, as opposed to the apprentices' more scientific one. And although he tried, he could rarely get the two to overlap.
He couldn't follow a scientific method if his life depended on it, but that didn't mean he was completely stupid. He just saw the world from a completely different angle. He was so music oriented, that he had trouble understanding when the world was presented to him in any other way. He couldn't comprehend the other's approach to their existence. He preferred synthesis to analysis. He made music. They dissected their existence.
At least that's what Zexion said.
"Not exactly, but you're on the right track at least," he answered. Vexen was mildly impressed. The hydro was trying to follow along. The others would have left by now. Of course, Demyx was kind of a captive audience at the moment.
He took a deep breath to continue, a meek voice interrupted again.
"There's more?" Demyx whimpered.
"Then I think I need another ana-whatits."
"Maybe this is a bit much right now?" he admitted reluctantly.
"Do you know what causes you migraines?" he asked changing the subject.
"Migraines usually have some sort of trigger. Like chocolate or red wine."
The musician thought about this. "No I don't think so," he answered. "I've never noticed food triggering them."
Not exactly conclusive evidence coming from Demyx, but it would do for now.
"How about stress? A certain stress factor maybe?"
There was another pause. Not the busy "wheels turning pause" but an awkward "I don't really want to answer that" pause.
"I know you get nervous before missions, or when XI threatens your fish." Demyx and Marluxia were forever fighting over the water garden. IX was the one who had actually built the pond his for his koi. XI had decided it was perfect for his exotic water lilies. The problem was, the koi thought the water lilies were very tasty. No one could say "herbivore" with as much loathing and venom as Marluxia could.
"Yeah that's probably it." He jumped on that easy answer way to fast.
"Or it could be someone stresses you out this badly," Vexen added slyly.
The Nocturne remained silent. Got-cha! Vexen thought.
"Tell me Demyx."
"It's been going on for a long time hasn't it?"
"Ever since you got here, in fact."
If possible the boy got even quieter.
"I have a good idea of who it is."
"It's not Axel!" Finally a response.
"No, no. If Axel was going to give someone migraines it would be me."
"But Axel is part of it isn't he? You worry that if he finds out it's all over."
The boy went silent again.
It had always confused Vexen how Demyx got along with Axel at all. IX was one of nature's bully targets. He was the type of person whom was easy to boss around, and VIII was the kind of person who learned very quickly where all the buttons were.
The unsettling thing about Demyx, was that he could be worryingly skittish. You never knew what might be the last straw and then he'd round on you like a snake. And while Axel stomped on Vexen's repeatedly and often, he was now careful not to push Demyx too far. It had been a bit of learning curve for the pyro.
"These headaches, you get them when he pulls you to him."
"How do you—"
"Zexion told me, and before you get upset he only did it because he worried about you."
The relationship made no sense to Vexen, but the two enjoyed each other's company. Zexion had been intrigued, the musician contrasted so sharply with the original six scientists. It was an odd friendship, to be sure, the super genius and the ditz.
"To be honest, I think you're screwed," Vexen said matter-of-factly. The boy clutched the blankets beneath him.
"Also, I've talked to Saïx."
"You didn't!" Demyx yelped and sat up, the blindfold and icepack falling. He gasped for breathe and turned a faint shade of green before leaning over the basin. Vexen groaned and sat on the bed next to the boy. In an unusually sympathetic gesture, he laid a cooling hand on the back of his neck until the spasms stopped.
Demyx wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "You didn't really, did you?" he asked.
"I most certainly did. He said it happened twice. Once because you were inexperienced and didn't want to be, and then again because well, those circumstances sounded a bit suspect to me, but he believed you were willing. He said what you mostly do is star gaze with him."
The Nocturne dropped back down on the bed and curled into a ball.
"What I think is happening is that you're getting all these migraines because you and Axel have finally gotten together, but if he finds out about Saïx, it'll all go to hell."
Demyx said nothing.
"I'm right aren't I?"
"Have you tried talking to Saïx? I think if you told him he'd respect your concerns. For some unfathomable reason he likes having you around."
"Have you asked him about it?"
Vexen got up measured out another dose of the painkiller. The last one wasn't doing anymore good, seeing as how Demyx had just brought it up. He wasn't worried about overdosing. He'd made for himself ages ago when he'd first started working with Xigbar (then Briag). He'd taken much higher doses with no ill effects.
"I didn't think so. The next time he calls you to go stargazing, talk to him. Here drink this."
The Nocturne grimaced as he downed the bright orange goo like a shot. Vexen hand him a glass of water to wash the bitter taste from his mouth.
Denyx sighed, "It won't change Axel's reaction."
Vexen shrugged, "I'm no good at dealing with Axel. You'll have to figure that one out yourself. Or talk to Roxas, he's the expert."
The boy curled up tighter.
"Look Demyx, I don't see as there's a whole lot you can do.
"For what it's worth, I don't think Saïx wishes you any harm, and that's saying something. The moon pulls the tide; it's an unavoidable consequence of your powers. Axel will just have to accept it. And if he doesn't, well, his loss I suppose."
He got up and pulled a thin blanket over the Nocturne. He tucked the blindfold back around his eyes and re-cooled the ice pack before putting it back in place as well.
"Do you mean it Vexen?"
He rolled his eyes, "Look kid, you're as bad as some of the others, but that's all you're getting out of me."
"I bet you'd be a pretty cool guy if you loosened up a little."
That medicine was defiantly kicking in now.
Vexen snorted, "Number IX, I invented cool. And I don't loosen up, especially not for neophytes. "
"I bet I could get you to."
"Oh so you think you can thaw me, do you, little fishie?"
"I think I could. I can get Saïx to relax, why not you?" Demyx giggled.
"Axel can't." There was a faint snigger.
"Of course he can't. Everyone knows that cold running water melts solid ice faster than dry heat."
"I don't want you wandering into my lab, whenever you please. You always ruin my experiments."
"I'm sorry, I don't mean to." Vexen relented.
"I know it's not intentional, but all the same…"
"I promise I won't come in without and invite."
"Do you really think you'll get one?" he said archly.
"You already gave me one."
Vexen twitched. "I did not!"
"You said whenever I feel a migraine coming on you wanted me to come to you." Vexen blinked. Had he said? He had hadn't he? If not in those words he had certainly implied that meaning when he said he could do better than Marluxia.
Damn his pride! Damn it to hell!
"I guess I've got to give you that one," he grumbled. "Just swear on whatever you hold dear that you'll behave yourself."
"Huh, you want me swear at Bambi?" Vexen ground his teeth, but tried to calm down. It was the medicine that was making Demyx loopy. Loopier than usual that is.
"Don't worry about it. We'll talk later."
"Naw jus now thou…" the boy slurred.
Finally, he was drifting off.
The Chilly Academic shook his head. The boy was insane. Talking about wanting to be with VIII and yet wanting to get to know IV better in the same conversation.
It had to be the medicine talking. Didn't it?
Just Demyx being silly, right?
And it was absolutely not affecting him that boy was showing him some respect. He was his superior. It was his due. It was the least he was owed after the boy had puked in front of his door.
He draped another blanket over the shivering form.
"No. Right now, you rest."
1. Simpsons again. I swear the bro's watched that dvd a trillion times!
Okay guys lay it on me. It's what I like to call Harsh Reality time. How did I do with Vexen's character? This is important to me since I've got a Vexen/Lexaeus fic lurking in the depths of my diseased brain.